We visited two wineries in New Mexico on our roadtrip through the West, while we were staying in Taos. We did it on the spur of the moment–once when we had an hour to spare, and once when we were headed towards a campsite and saw a “winery” sign on the side of the road.
New Mexico is the oldest wine growing state in the U.S., a pourer told us, going back to 400+ years ago with Spanish mission grapes grown for Church use.
Today,wineries exist all over the state, though most of the grapes are grown in the south.
First we visited Casa Rondena just outside Albequerque.
Here is the note on my favorite wine:
2012 Precious Land (50% cab, 20% merlot, 9% tempranillo, 8% syrah)
Nose: cocoa, dried leaves, roses
Palate: tar, dark fruit, not too jammy
Next we visited Vivac. Nestled into the rolling hills north of Taos with the sun setting and a live band, it was everything you want from New Mexico. The pourer was friendly and knowledgeable, and even encouraged Randy to start growing “French hybrid” grapes, a New Mexican specialty.
All their wines were distinctive, but here is one of my favorites:
2014 Nebbiolo V. Series
Nose: green pepper, sunflower seeds, strawberry
Palate: soft, juicy, savory
I don’t know that I can make any generalizations about New Mexican wine based on two wineries, but I will say that both wineries had reds and whites that were distinctively dry, bordering on Italian.
They were not lush or jammy, but also not too astringent or lean. The reds were particularly good. I’d like to come back and do a real exploration some day.